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New Mexico Science

Science, climate, weather and water from a New Mexico perspective

NM Drought Outlook: Bad to Worse

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With a persistent ridge of high pressure blocking storms from the western United States, New Mexico is unlikely to get any drought relief for the rest of the month, and the longer range forecast out this morning does not look any better.

In the short run, as I noted yesterday, National Weather Service forecaster Brian Guyer reports that January has been so warm and dry that we’re at risk of losing what snow we have to sublimation – the direct evaporation of snow into the air, before it has a chance to melt and make its way downstream, where we so desperately need it. Guyer and his colleagues note that, with odds against precipitation through the end of the month,¬†we’re on track for one of the driest mid-winter stretches on record in Albuquerque history.

Now comes the seasonal forecast, which evaluates our prospects through the end of April. Done monthly by the federal Climate Prediction Center, the forecasts are not encouraging. While California is suffering through epic lack of snow in the mountains that feed its rivers, the long range drought outlook (which combines both temperature and precipitation probabilities) shows drought continuing or expanding from Seattle down the west coast, across much of the Great Basin and across Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Texas:

Drought Outlook

Drought Outlook

This is not just a function of the lack of precipitation in the forecast. The odds also favor a warm spring:

Temperature outlook

Temperature outlook

 

 

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